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Thursday, July 15, 2004

The whole thing is Rigged

From the Washington Post:
Riggs Bank courted business from former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and helped him hide millions of dollars in assets from international prosecutors while he was under house arrest in Britain, according to a report by Senate investigators.

The report also says the top federal bank examiner in charge of supervising the District's largest bank kept details about Riggs's relationship with Pinochet out of the Riggs case file. That happened a few months before the examiner retired from the government and joined Riggs as a senior executive. The examiner, R. Ashley Lee, denied the allegations to Senate investigators.

The Senate report also said Lee recommended, while still working for the government, that the bank not be punished for failing to take steps designed to prevent money laundering.
In addition to its account of Riggs's relationship with Pinochet, who was held in Britain after an indictment in Spain on charges of "crimes against humanity," the Senate report provides new details about Riggs's dealings with Teodoro Obiang Nguema, the dictator of Equatorial Guinea.

"It's a sordid story of a bank with a prestigious name that blatantly ignored its obligations under anti-money-laundering laws," said Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.), the ranking minority member of the subcommittee whose staff oversaw the investigation. "And it took our regulators five years to act in any substantive way. . . . They tolerated Riggs failures and tolerated their dysfunctional AML [anti-money-laundering] program."
Go Carl! And way down, in the last paragraph of the article, is this:
In addition to the Pinochet and Equatorial Guinea accounts, the subcommittee found others "equally troubling," including more than 150 Saudia Arabian accounts. The full Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, as part of a larger look into terrorist funding, is probing those accounts and has subpoenaed records from both the OCC and from Riggs.
So Riggs hid money for Pinochet and Nguema, and may have been laundering Saudi terrorist money as well. Meanwhile, the Post hides one important little detail: Uncle John Bush is an executive for Riggs. And don't forget, like the Post did, that aWol tried to appoint Henry Kissinger, the man who put Pinochet in power and condemned Chile to 17 years of horrible dictatorship, to head the 9/11 commission. Not to mention that Kissinger STILL ISN'T IN JAIL! The rest of the world must just laugh with contempt when Bush (or Clinton or Kerry for that matter) talk about the US spreading justice and democracy.